Early in January, global trends analyst Gerald Celente predicted that rapid wealth accumulation in the hands of the ultra-rich of the world will drive a worldwide youth resistance movement in 2011. The movement will involve a political alliance that many people in our country and here at NMU would think next to impossible. I think it is not only possible, but that this alliance makes perfect sense. It is the alliance of progressives and libertarians.
What possibly could progressives and libertarians have in common? We could simply ask the two men who are leaders of their respective movements, consumer advocate Ralph Nader and Congressman Ron Paul. Both of these courageous men are adamantly against any reauthorization of the U.S. Patriot Act, a law which allowed the federal government to conduct wireless surveillance of U.S. citizens without a warrant from a magistrate. Both oppose the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the war in Afghanistan being the longest official U.S. war ever. They both are also against U.S. participation in NAFTA and WTO, with Nader focusing on the corporate motives behind the U.S.’s participation and Paul focusing on the U.S. losing its sovereignty in making economic decisions.
Although both men support this “alliance,” I don’t want to make it seem like progressives and libertarians agree on every issue. Progressives would tend to support a single-payer health care system and federal income taxes whereas libertarians would tend to support a privatized health care system with maximum competition available among insurers and the abolition of income taxes in favor of a flat consumption tax. I’m not saying all progressives and libertarians believe in these policies, I’m just saying that progressives and libertarians seem to support these policies more often than not.
Nevertheless, as Paul said of this possible alliance, “I think we should come together and work together, and I think we can.” This was self-evident when Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a self-proclaimed socialist, and Paul joined forces last year to try to audit the Federal Reserve System. The Federal Reserve was criticized from both sides of the political aisle for not taking proper steps in preventing and stopping the financial collapse from happening.
The main push from House Republicans and the Tea Party movement this year is a reduction in the size and spending of the federal government. If this is to be a serious endeavor, which I would hope House Republicans take seriously, the military budget must simply be reduced. Paul and Nader agree on this point with absolute certainty, as do many members of the Tea Party, who know that no budget is off limits for waste and cuts. With 702 military bases in 130 different countries, it must be clear that some of these bases are no longer needed and are a waste of money, such as the U.S. base in Okinawa, Japan. Also consider that in 2002, the federal government could not track down $2.3 trillion in defense expenditures. This kind of waste is not acceptable, especially when this money could be spent more effectively in giving children more health care, education, or even extra tax cuts for small businesses.
Why can a progressive-libertarian alliance work in America? Look at the two-party duopoly. Both Nader and Paul admit that the two parties are more concerned with protecting corporations and protecting the special interests that finance their political campaigns, rather than helping the American people out with their serious and dire needs.
A progressive-libertarian alliance can completely change the structure of power in America. Politicians will be listening to the needs of the American people instead of their respective political party. Politicians will have to respond to people’s needs, instead of the wants of multi-national corporations who follow narrow self-interest, even if it hurts people.
If a progressive-libertarian alliance doesn’t work, the two-party duopoly will simply go back to business as usual, with the American people asleep at the wheel.